A Halo Drops and a Penny Too.

It was time for a community meeting again, and I was once more scouring the unit for unwilling participants. I prevailed on six or seven patients to leave their beds, but then noticed them forming a disorderly queue outside the door to the blocked stairs, where David stood feeling around the woodwork and muttering to himself. This was one of his regular obsessive-compulsive rituals, which tended to appear whenever he anticipated a stressful event of some sort, like shopping for fish and chips, or having a bath. I was dangerously short of patience these days, so I dispensed with the professional, politically correct pleasantries and simply bellowed:
“For God’s sake David, will you stop arsing around and get yourself downstairs.”
This always worked much more effectively than a lifetime of psychotherapy or drugs, and he instantly broke out of his reverie and moved downstairs, freeing the bottleneck. But before I had time to congratulate myself on a rare effective intervention, a nearby toilet door creaked open and out tumbled Richard, with a face like thunder.
“Oh…er…. I thought you went home hours ago Richard.”
“Yes….well…..I fell asleep on the toilet if you must know. I’m almost dead on my feet with all this extra work.”
“Yes, indeed. You certainly wouldn’t call Adolf Hitler entertainment” I said, pointing to the Large Print edition of ‘Mein Kampf’ dangling from his left hand.
“Hmmm….that’s besides the point Steven.”
“What is the point” he continued “ is that I overheard you berating David in a grossly unprofessional manner. I believe the exact expression you used was “stop arsing around”?”
“Oh…yes….er…..sorry about that.”
It was a golden rule in psychiatric nursing that staff should keep patients entirely insulated from the rough and tumble of social life, and then wonder why the patients couldn’t cope.
“It was most reprehensible.”
“Abominable in fact.”
“Well, from the first of next month there will be a total ban on all rectal jokes, and the penalties will be severe.”
“Oh….but I didn’t mean……”
“Yes, I would have no option but to issue an official verbal warning which would be entered on your records and retained for a period of six months, after which the matter would be reviewed annually.”
“Luckily for you there are still three days to go before the new rules are implemented, so I will make the warning unofficial” he smirked. “But from now on please avoid rectal jokes at all times, no matter how provocative the patients are.”
“Oh…er…yes….thanks, Richard.”
“And remember, we’re still waiting for the inspectors’ final report, so we can’t be too careful….. Especially you, Steven.”
“Er…yes…of course.”
“You’ve got a relative’s complaint hanging over your head for a start, and that little outburst in the inspectors’ meeting won’t have exactly endeared you to senior management.”
“I realise that…”
“They could throw the book at you.”
And the Trust book could only be a heavy one.


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